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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) – Freshman Jalen Smith scored 16 points, Bruno Fernando had 12 points and 13 rebounds and No. 24 Maryland opened Big Ten play by slipping past Penn State 66-59 Saturday.
Anthony Cowan Jr. chipped in with 15 points, including two clutch 3s in the closing minutes. The last of those long-range jumpers, hoisted as the shot-clock expired, made it 64-59 with 34 seconds left.
Maryland (7-1, 1-0) held on to secure a bounce-back victory following a 76-71 loss to No. 4 Virginia earlier in the week.
Coming off a 63-62 upset of No. 13 Virginia Tech on Tuesday, the Nittany Lions (4-3) nearly knocked off another ranked team. They led 31-30 at halftime, erased an eight-point deficit in the second half and gave Maryland all it could handle on its own floor.
Penn State simply couldn’t handle the Terrapins’ inside game. Fernando and Smith were dominant in the paint, Maryland finished with a 40-28 rebounding advantage and outscored the Nittany Lions 18-4 at the foul line.
Fernando became the first Terp to notch three straight double-doubles since Jordan Williams in 2011.
Lamar Stevens scored 19 for Penn State, Josh Reaves had all 17 of his points in the first half and Rasir Bolton finished with 15.
Maryland went up 47-39 with 12:53 left when Fernando sent an alley-oop pass to Smith for a dunk. As he headed the other way down the court, Fernando raised his arms and waved his hands, asking the crowd of 15,481 to cheer the Terps on.
The enthusiasm waned when Penn State responded with a 9-0 run to move back in front.
Neither team could pull away, which was typical of this budding rivalry. Since Maryland joined the Big Ten, each of the seven games between the teams has been decided by seven points or less.
Penn State missed 12 of its first 13 shots while falling behind 12-3, then held the Terrapins scoreless for more than four minutes during a 10-0 run. The Nittany Lions took 12 more shots than Maryland in the first half, limited the Terps to 8-for-21 shooting and forced 10 turnovers.
Yet Penn State got points from only three players, was outrebounded 21-16 and missed both its free throws, which explains the 31-30 score at the break.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions could make some noise in the Big Ten if they can get contributions from players other than Reaves and Stevens, the only starters with more than one year of experience.
Maryland: Consistency continues to elude the Terrapins, which isn’t entirely unexpected given the youth of the roster. Outside shooting and ball handling remain a work in progress, but the good news is that the Terps are 7-1 and ranked in spite of their shortcomings.
Penn State: Hosts Indiana on Tuesday night, the lone regular-season meeting between the teams.
Maryland: Travels to Purdue on Tuesday night, seeking to end a four-game losing streak against the Boilermakers.
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